Boy Scouts of America
Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program

As with the Sustainability Treehouse’s design and construction, nature’s natural processes inform the exhibit program which then translates these principles to the everyday living in one’s own house.

Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program

Mysterious trail signs appear on the way to the building. These read: Who Knew / A Tree / Could Be / So Waste Free?

Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program
Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program

A “Rain Chain,” made of stainless steel camping cups that transfer rainwater falling from the roof into a cistern below. The cistern then cleans and purifies the water for the drinking fountain adjacent to a LED message board that displays how much has been collected and consumed.

Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program

A complete tree (with root ball, even!) that is suspended horizontally in the first floor space, which (through a variety of specimens, videos and other content) illustrates its own self-sufficiency in nature and also provides the model for how the building works.

Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program
Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program
Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program

A series of short videos distributed throughout the exhibits serve as quick (and sometimes gross) lessons. Here is a sampling of 4 of them.

Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program
Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program
Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program

The “Recyclotron,” a Rube Goldberg-esque rolling ball machine encased in a wood slat “mini-house” structure. Visitors can power the machine, most memorably by pedaling a custom-designed tricycle that both lifts the balls to the top of the track and shows the effort needed to power an incandescent bulb versus a fluorescent one.

Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program
Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program
Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program
Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program

Tactile, low-tech interaction encourages collaboration, motivating visitors to incorporate these Net Zero practices into their own lives and communities for the betterment of the planet.

Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program
Sustainability Treehouse exhibition program

The problem was to design an exhibition program that tells a sustainability story through the actual Sustainability Treehouse at The Summit—an adventure center for the millions of youth and adults involved in the Boy Scouts of America. It is set on former strip mining land and will permanently host the BSA's Jamboree gatherings.

The main challenge was to create an experience that would engage Boy Scouts eager to find the next adventure activity—zip lines, climbing areas, a skate park—and leave them with a new perspective on sustainability. The design avoids outdated and formulaic exhibit solutions and, instead, delivers information in surprising and unexpected ways, down to the humorous and irreverent tone of the exhibit text. Nature's natural processes inform the exhibit program which then translates these principles to everyday life.

RECOGNITION
  • 2013 Spark! Awards

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